Honolulu City Council
Honolulu City Councilmember
Legislative Aide to former Honolulu City Councilmember Breene Harimoto and a high school teacher and golf coach at Damien Memorial School.
Yes, currently the Honolulu City Councilmember for District 8.
I feel strongly that my calling is to help people and be of service. I was born and raised in 'Aiea/Pearl City and my family spans three generations of living in this community. I want to continue to help my community thrive and be a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Working together we can strengthen our community bonds and improve the quality of life for all. Building livable, vibrant communities requires many hands, and I believe our community has amazing potential to improve our capacity to serve all our residents, including families, keiki, and seniors!
I have served as the City Councilmember for Council District 8 for nearly four years since November 2014. Prior to my election, I was a Legislative Aide to former Councilmember Breene Harimoto for four years. I have chaired the committees on Transportation, and Business, Economic Development & Tourism. I am currently the chair of the Public Health, Safety & Welfare Committee and the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board. I have had a position on every single committee, and until earlier this year, I was a member of all eight Council committees.
I am a proud 'Aiea High School alumnus and previously served on the 'Aiea Neighborhood Board. I received a B.S. in Economics and Business Administration from St. Mary's College of California and a MBA from Chaminade University of Honolulu. I have been active and involved with these community organizations: Pearl City Lions Club, Hawaii Jaycees, and Toastmasters International. I am a former high school teacher and golf coach of Damien Memorial School.
My top priorities for Council District 8 are pursuing transportation and infrastructure improvements; upgrading our parks and recreational spaces and protecting our natural environment; and also continuing my work in community safety and public health issues.
For transportation improvements, I have supported the repaving and rehabilitation of our streets, and there is a large project active in the ‘Aiea and Pearl City area right now. I've also supported our sewer infrastructure, and currently working on improvements to sewers in the Waimalu area. We will have a new Corporation Yard in the Manana Area that will house the Department of Facility Maintenance as well as some Parks Maintenance functions. I am thrilled that this new City facility will be built in our district as it will not only provide jobs to those building it but also help to consolidate City functions in a modernized facility. The City is in the process of changing TheBus routes to connect to our rail stations. I am working with our transportation department so that the area neighborhood boards will be able to have input. We are very early in the process, and I am excited that there will be more connectivity in our communities.
Since I have been elected, Council District 8 has received new and refurbished play equipment in all areas including Pearlridge Community Park, Waimalu Neighborhood Park, Manana Neighborhood Park, Waiau Gardens Mini Park, Waiau District Park, and soon at Waiau Community Park. Irene Elston Pupuole Mini Park received a brand new play apparatus. Waipio Neighborhood Park had its courts resurfaced, and at the community's request I was able to have the courts include markings for pickleball. Improvements were made to Waipio Soccer Park, including their scoreboard, ticket office, and comfort station. Perhaps the biggest improvements have been to the Pearl Harbor Historic Trail. After many years and many meetings, we were able to sign a long-term lease with the US Navy. This enabled work to revitalize the trail and plan for a future pilot project to improve the bike path/pedestrian path nearest to Pearl Kai Shopping Center. The trail is truly a diamond in the rough that is a world-class public facility for everyone to enjoy.
I feel blessed to have good working relationships with our public safety departments of Emergency Services, Fire, and Police. I am working with the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) on relocating their aging Pearl City Fire Station. Our police station in Pearl City has a new Major since July 1st, and I have had good communication with the divisions in that station including our Community Policing Team and Crime Reduction Unit. The HPD Waipahū Training Center is also in Council District 8, and I have ensured that they have received adequate funding to continue to train our men and women in blue. While I do not have any beaches with City lifeguards in my district, I am a staunch supporter of this function in our City and have supported efforts to hire more lifeguards island-wide. Our ambulances are actually reimbursed by the State, and they provide a lifeline first response to our community members.
These professionals all work around the clock and long shifts, and I want to ensure that they continue to get the support that they need. One of my philosophies is to get out and experience things first hand. In my first term I have had ride-alongs with HPD and EMS as well as tours of all of the fire stations and police station in our district. When I get out in the district and speak with my fellow City workers, I become aware of what their jobs entail and am able to also see where I can help as their area legislator.
More housing. My intention as a Councilmember is implement policies that encourage the creation of more affordable housing and especially opportunities for low to moderate-income people. I believe this "low-mod" category needs to be the City's primary focus going forward. I was able to introduce, and the electorate supported, a City Charter amendment to provide more funding for affordable housing projects at the 60% AMI level with commitments for 60 years of affordability.
I introduced an amendment to incorporate affordable housing requirements into Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). With TOD, we can enhance, integrate, and revitalize older neighborhoods into vibrant economic destinations. TOD in particular presents an exciting opportunity to encourage more affordable housing in close proximity to the rail stations and add to our housing supply. We need to create housing for local families and young people who are new home buyers. This year at the City Council we were able to adopt an island-wide Affordable Housing Policy requiring affordable units in all projects of a certain size. Providing affordable units is essential to meeting our residents’ needs and keeping our younger generation at home instead of losing them to mainland cities and jobs. Council District 8 will have five rail transit stations and associated transit-oriented development (TOD) areas. I support TOD and smart growth principles because it will help spur the revitalization efforts of older neighborhoods to integrate for mixed uses and encourage more economic opportunities, social, cultural and housing opportunities along the rail line. Developing communities that allow additional residents to live, work, and play in the same general geographic area can significantly reduce car congestion and can improve their quality of life.
Multi-Modal Transportation The Honolulu Rail Transit project and expansion of other multi-modal transportation options are the best ways to address the expanding transportation needs for our families and especially for our seniors. This includes expansion/refinement of the bus system, improving bicycle infrastructure, addressing walkability in our communities, and expanding programs like ride-share, van-share, and car-share. I introduced a bill that became the One Day Bus Pass, which will become part of the HOLO Card shortly.
By listening to the concerns from my constituents by responding in a timely manner with possible solutions. I want to continue to be a strong advocate to make our community a better place to live for future generations.
I am passionate about community service and started at an early age by my active involvement in school organizations/clubs to what I currently do. I feel honored to serve and want to continue to be a public servant for another term as a City Councilmember.